Various locales around Durango serve as inspiring outdoor vistas enticing children to drop their smartphones and bask in the great outdoors, a more common activity for youngsters in the pre-Steve Jobs world.
Junction Creek, Falls Creek, Haviland Lake and Dalla Mountain Park all serve as backdrops in a new 3-minute short film introducing the character “Wilder,” a combination yeti, mountain goat and golden doodle, who befriends children and encourages their outdoor explorations as part of Great Outdoors Colorado’s latest Generation Wild marketing campaign.
“We’re trying to reconnect a generation of kids with nature and the joy of unstructured play we all enjoyed growing up,” said Rosemary Dempsey, director of communications with Great Outdoors Colorado. “Kids are increasingly disconnected to nature, and we want to reduce barriers to the outdoors and decrease obstacles to outdoor play and the disparities children have in their ability to safely play outside.”
Dempsey said a growing body of research shows unstructured outdoor play provides emotional, social, physical and cognitive developmental benefits to children.
“We wanted Wilder to be the embodiment of wonder you feel in nature,” she said.
Durangoan Jack Turner served as site manager for the short film, produced in conjunction with Sukle Advertising & Design, a Denver advertising firm.
Turner’s parents’ home in Crestview even served as the site for a girl’s family home in the short film.
“The film really appeals to adults, too,” Turner said. “It reminds them how fun it was to just get outside on their own as a kid. It’s really a clever tactic because kids can’t make decisions on their own. They need their parents’ consent.”
Wilder made his official debut on television July 15, and he will be scheduled for live appearances at events across Colorado throughout the summer. Wilder’s nearest scheduled appearance to Durango will be at the Olathe Sweet Corn Festival on Aug. 3.
Dempsey said the Wilder $2.5 million advertising campaign will be used on social media websites, television and as promotions before films at theaters. It will run through Oct. 1, and on the Front Range, Wilder will be featured on billboards.